By the sound of her name, you would think “Joe’s Tug” was actually a tugboat. In fact, she is an old steel hulled shrimper originally destined as an artifical reef off the coast of Miami.
Originally, this 75-foot tug sank at the pier in Key West in 1986. It was raised and cleaned in preparation for her planned sinking as an artificial reef in Miami. However, late on the night before it was scheduled to be towed north, a group of locals surreptitiously towed the boat out of Key West harbor.
The vessel sank en-route to wherever they were headed, landing on the reef in about 65 feet of water.
Joe’s Tug Key West Wiki
Joe’s Tug is a tugboat that was sunk as an artificial reef on January 21, 1989. The tug had been stripped and filled with steel I beams prior to her sinking. Billy Deans reported originally that she sits upright and intact in 60 feet of water and is approximately 65 feet long.
However, Joe’s Tug now sits in about 65 feet of water in the sand, no longer intact. In 1998, Hurricane Georges picked up the wreck and tore her in half. The bow and stern now lie about 30 feet apart, and the wheelhouse has largely disintegrated over the years. The hull is easily accessible and is usually filled with schooling fish. She sits up right on the ocean floor surrounded by soft and hard coral formations and large sponges. This wreck is home to some very friendly moray eels and inquisitive fish.
This wreck, which is located inshore from the Cayman Salvage Master, is also called Joe’s Wreck or Tim’s Tug and is said to be excellent for wide angle photography.